Voldemort's body was motionless. Behind him sat the blackened carcass of his snake. Neville lay bleeding profusely on the ground next to Nagini's body. Hermione ran to his side just as Ginny and Ron did the same.

"I'm fine," Neville sputtered out through panting breaths, clutching his side where Voldemort's curse had hit.

"No you're not," Ginny said, "we need to get you inside."

Hermione knew that Ron and Ginny would get Neville to safety on their own. He looked like he would be okay… the curse didn't seem lethal where it had hit him. Voldemort's strength had already been greatly depleted before he struck Neville.

With this in mind, Hermione stood and turned towards where Remus had fallen. He was sitting up on the ground, clutching his shoulder where he'd been hit and slowly standing up. Thank god he's alive, was the first thought to enter her mind. She approached him, and just as he stood up wrapped her arms around him. Remus let out a pained breath as he hugged her in return.

"Am I hurting you?" she asked, attempting to pull back.

Remus didn't let her get far away, though. "I don't mind," he said simply, pulling her closer.

Hermione chuckled and burrowed her head against his neck. "We did it," she whispered.

"You all did," he replied, "I didn't do much of anything."

She'd been about to argue, but the forms of Harry, Ron, and Ginny caught her eye. They stood together across the courtyard, speaking quietly. Hermione watched them, wondering if she ought to go over there. She really didn't want to leave Remus' side at the moment, but she needed to make sure everything was alright with them, and she was desperate to speak to Harry about what had happened.

"Go ahead," Remus said, interrupting her thoughts. "There's a lot to sort out still. You go talk to them and I'll make sure everyone else is okay."

Hermione nodded, kissing him lightly on the cheek before pulling away.

There were Aurors everywhere. The Great Hall was overrun with people in Ministry Robes. Hermione watched them as they milled about, talking to everyone, getting their sides of the story. She really hoped that the media wouldn't misreport the news of this battle. Hopefully the Prophet got the full story and not the same misconstrued garbage that had surfaced during the Triwizard Tournament.

Ginny's quiet sniffle caught Hermione's attention. She turned to her right, where the redhead sat beside her, looking at the ground mournfully. Someone, Hermione wasn't sure who, had come around and put a blanket around each of their shoulders. She guessed it was in some attempt to get them to sleep. It was nearing midnight and Hermione truly was exhausted after not sleeping at all the previous night, but she didn't want to sleep now. Besides, Ginny needed someone to be with her. Harry was talking to the Aurors, reporting his side of the story, and she didn't expect him to finish for a while.

Harry had quite a complicated tale to tell, especially with the part where Voldemort had used the Killing Curse on him and he'd somehow come back to life. Hermione now knew all about what Harry had done; he'd told her shortly before the Aurors came. Somehow, Harry ended up finding the Resurrection Stone in the Snitch Dumbledore left him and managed to survive Voldemort's curse. Thus, the Horcrux within him was destroyed in the process.

This was all a very confusing and long-winded tale, and that was why Hermione had decided to keep Ginny company here on the outskirts of the Great Hall.

"It'll be alright," Hermione murmured in a small attempt at consolation, "we can rest now that Voldemort's gone."

Ginny moved to rest her head on Hermione's shoulder. "Yeah," she whispered in response, staring into the crowd in front of them. Despite the number of people in the Great Hall, there wasn't much noise being made. Everyone spoke quietly, allowing the others to mourn and rest. The dead had been moved somewhere else, but there were still many badly injured comrades amongst them.

Hermione looked into the crowd, following Ginny's stare. Harry, Remus, Mr. Weasley, and Kingsley were all speaking to a group of Aurors now. Her eyes followed Remus' form as he spoke. His shoulder had been wrapped up by a passing Healer, but the woman didn't seem to have any extra time to actually mend the bones. There were many other patients in far more critical condition.

St. Mungo's had sent many of their Healers over to the school to assess the situation and take any critical patients to the hospital. She had seen Neville being carried off earlier. The Healer had told Hermione and Ginny that Neville would be fine as long as he went to the hospital and received care there. Many other patients were in a similar situation.

Remus clutched his shoulder as he spoke, and Hermione could tell that the injury was bothering him. She decided to make sure that he was taken care of before long, even if she had to do it herself.

"I'm glad they made it," Ginny said softly. Hermione didn't know whom she was talking about, but she guessed that it could apply to everyone who had made it. Ginny had lost a brother to this war, but so many others had survived.

"Me too," Hermione replied, her eyes following Remus. She'd almost lost him. It could have happened at any moment today, and Hermione had no idea how she would have moved on if he'd died. "I think I love him," she admitted quietly, so only Ginny could hear.

Despite the ambiguity, Ginny understood. She let out a deep breath, nodding slowly. "I think I love him too… well… not him, the other one." Her eyes followed Harry as she spoke. Hermione let out a huff of laughter.

They sat in silence for a fairly long time. Eventually, however, Harry broke away from the Aurors and the others. He looked a bit lost in the cavernous Great Hall, glancing around forlornly. "You should go talk to him," Hermione murmured, "hold his hand or something."

Ginny smiled wryly, "I suppose I will. You all right here?"

Hermione nodded. Ginny stood up from the ground, Her blanket still around her shoulders. She looked back at Hermione before walking away. "I think he loves you too."

She could only manage a half smile in response. Her brain was too full of thoughts and questions about the future. Soon Ginny and Harry were both gone from the Great Hall. Hermione pulled her blanket tight around her and leaned back against the wall.

After what felt like a fairly long time, Remus' eyes fell on her. He started at a slow pace in her direction, his hands in his pockets and a small smile on his face. He stopped directly in front of her, his feet nearly touching hers. Hermione patted the ground beside her.

"How's the shoulder?" she asked, noticing the way he winced when he sat down.

"It'll heal," he replied simply. "Werewolves heal quickly, you know."

"I do," she said, leaning her head against his good shoulder. She felt the exhaustion set in at this moment. Her limbs felt heavy and her eyelids drooped. "Remus?"

"Hmm?" She could feel him shift his head to look down at her.

"What's going to happen now? There's so much that has to change…" she didn't know if she was talking about Hogwarts or their friends who had died or even their marriage.

"I don't know," he admitted, "but we'll figure out soon. For now you should try to sleep. I'll wake you up when Madam Pomfrey comes to heal you."

"Why do I need to be healed?" Her voice was thick with sleep.

"You've got welts all over," he said, evidently surprised that she'd forgotten. She watched as he reached for her arm and pulled up her sleeve, displaying the aftermath of the burning curses in Bellatrix's vault.

She made some sort of huff of recognition and nodded. "I'm going to sleep for now, then," she mumbled, shifting so that she was more comfortably propped up against Remus.

His softly spoken "okay" was the last thing Hermione heard before drifting off.

Hermione woke up the following morning in their bedroom. She barely remembered being woken up and healed by Madam Pomfrey the previous night, but all evidence of her injuries were gone.

Remus' arm was draped around her waist. His breathing was steady as he slept. She wondered what would happen now. It was almost certain that the Marriage Law would be absolved, but where would that leave her and Remus? To be honest, she couldn't imagine not being married to him after this. It sounded terrible; nothing like how she wanted the future to turn out.

Deciding not to wallow in her thoughts for too long, Hermione got out of bed, taking a moment to open the small window in their bedroom and observe. The air that filled her lungs reminded her sharply of summer. It was technically still only late spring, but it felt like summer was coming in full force. There were a few indistinguishable forms wandering down by the Black Lake. Most of their comrades in the battle yesterday had ended up staying the night in any rooms they could find. There were probably a lot of people around the castle this morning, which Hermione knew to be a good thing; there was a lot of rebuilding to be done, and all of the students still had exams to take. However, it was very likely that exams would be postponed.

Deciding that she really wanted to see her friends, Hermione headed off to search for them, giving Remus' sleeping form one last glance before departing.

Just as she'd expected, Hermione found Harry, Ginny, and Ron in the Gryffindor Common Room. Ginny and Harry were both laying on the couch together, clutching each other in their sleep. Ron was hunched over in an armchair beside them, looking like his back would be in some pain when he woke up.

She sat in the other armchair opposite of Ron, sitting down just as Harry and Ginny began to stir. Shortly after, the noise appeared to awaken Ron as well.

"Hullo Hermione," Ginny greeted her groggily, sitting up, her elbows digging into a grunting Harry. "How was your night?" she asked, waggling her eyebrows knowingly.

"My evening was fine," Hermione replied airily, "how was yours?"

"Very nice," Ginny smiled quaintly, her eyes darting down to Harry every few moments.

"Is Remus all right?" Harry asked gruffly.

Hermione nodded, "Madam Pomfrey healed his shoulder. He should be perfectly fine when the bruising goes away."

"Are you all right?" Harry spoke again.

She sighed, "yeah."

"Can we get some food?" Ron stood from his chair and begun to stretch, "I'm bloody starving."

Despite Ron's lack of sensitivity to the situation, everyone agreed that it was about time for breakfast. They made their way down to the Great Hall together, finding that the tables had been moved back into the center of the room and food was currently being served.

It felt like Hermione was finally with her family once again. All of the Weasleys – aside from Fred, of course – were sitting together. Even Percy was there, having arrived for the battle the previous afternoon. Some familiar faces sat near the Weasleys, including Kingsley and, as Hermione was pleased to see, Remus.

This was when Hermione realized how hungry she truly was, and luckily enough, there was plenty of food to go around. She sat down across from Remus, Ron taking the seat to her left and Harry the one to her right. Ginny was on Harry's other side, between him and a very melancholy looking Charlie.

Seeing Charlie's dreary mood and hopeless expression, Hermione realized all that he had lost in the battle yesterday. She'd known that there was something deep between him and Tonks for a long time. Not only had he lost Tonks, but also Fred. She couldn't imagine how he was feeling, but she knew that it was terrible, perhaps even as terrible as what George was going through. George sat a couple seats down from Hermione, playing idly with his food and giving single word responses when anyone tried to talk to him.

Hermione desperately hoped that their family would get through this. They'd all taken Fred's death as a shock and a tragedy. Nobody seemed to be able to truly enjoy the victory in spite of their losses. She wondered if there was something she could do.

Breakfast passed and Hermione didn't have much of a chance to speak to Remus, even though he was just across the table. However, she figured that it was a bit of a good thing at this point, because she had absolutely no clue what to say to him about their situation. That conversation would have to come eventually, but she could postpone it for now.

Near the end of the meal, Professor McGonagall stood and called everyone's attention. She announced that for anyone who wished to help, they would be allowed to stay at Hogwarts as long as the repairs were going on, and anyone would be welcome to help. A party was setting out to work on the courtyard and exterior of the school that morning, and another group was being sent to Hogsmeade to assess the damage. Hermione had been about to go to Hogsmeade with Remus, Harry, Ron, and Ginny when Madam Pomfrey caught her.

"Hermione," the woman said, out of breath after trying to track her down.

"Hello, Madam Pomfrey," Hermione greeted her warily, "is something wrong?"

"No, no, nothing's wrong," the Pomfrey shook her head, "I was simply wondering if you would like to assist me in the Hospital Wing."

Hermione let out a surprised breath. "Assist you?" she echoed.

Pomfrey nodded, "All the Healers have left with the critical patients and taken them to St. Mungo's, but I've still got the Hospital Wing overflowing with other patients in need of help. After what you did for Severus, I believe that I can trust you with Healing magic."

Hermione understood now. Shortly after Voldemort had fallen and she'd ensured that everyone around her was okay, Hermione had remembered leaving Snape in the Shrieking Shack. Once the Healers were notified, they'd been able to bring him back to the school and compliment Hermione on her handiwork. Snape had then been transferred to St. Mungo's, expected to recover with close monitoring and special care. Apparently Madam Pomfrey had caught wind of this.

"Wow," Hermione breathed, "I'd love to. Thank-you." It really was a great honor, especially since Pomfrey was usually so meticulous about her patients.

"Of course, dear," she replied in an affectionate manner, "but I must warn you, it's a tough job."

"I'm happy to help," Hermion assured the Matron, still smiling in wake of the praise.

Madam Pomfrey told her to come by the Hospital Wing when she was ready. Hermione told the others of what had happened and set out for the Hospital Wing instead of Hogsmeade. As she left, she shared an awkward goodbye with Remus. It was strange how they were suddenly in such an in-between place.

Hermione decided that she would deal with Remus tonight. They could have a long, honest conversation about the future, and all would be well. Shaking her head of these thoughts, she entered the Hospital Wing, ready to help.

Madam Pomfrey quickly swept Hermione away into a morning of hard work. she did relatively minor jobs; administering potions, applying bruise and burn paste, and healing minor cuts. This allowed Madam Pomfrey to work on some of her larger jobs. Despite the fact that many patients had left for St. Mungo's, there were still a huge amount that came in on and off throughout the morning asking for medical attention. Hermione barely had a moment to herself until shortly after noon.

"Hermione?" Madam Pomfrey called through the great room, "Oh, there you are." The Matron's footsteps paced over to where Hermione was, filing through the Hospital Wing's potion stores in search of a Pain Elixir. "Let me take that," Madam Pomfrey rushed Hermione out of the small room, "there's a woman from the Ministry here to see you. I think you ought to go with her."

"Oh," Hermione peeked her head out, seeing a petite woman in Ministry robes standing by the door, "Okay," she mumbled, "Thank-you, Madam Pomfrey."

Pomfrey just waved her off. Hermione approached the woman.

"Hermione Granger?" She inquired, smiling genially.

"Yes," Hermione tried to hide her mounting confusion. She shook the woman's extended hand.

"Pleasure to meet you, I'm Abigail Bowen, from the Ministry of Magic's Magical Law Correction Committee." She smiled again, showing off her perfect white teeth.

Hermione's mounting confusion must have been obvious, because Abigail proceeded to explain. "The Committee was established just this morning. We hope to reverse any unjust laws or situations that may have been caused by the Ministry in the past several months. The first matter of business is the Marriage Law. As of this morning, the Ministry is offering full divorces and annulments to any witches and wizards previously affected by the law."

It sounded like what was overall a very good idea, which Hermione had to commend the Ministry for. She even appreciated the fact that they were giving divorces, but Hermione felt a shiver of worry run through her at the realization of why this woman was talking to her in particular. "You're here about Remus and I?" She asked.

Abigail nodded, confirming Hermione's suspicions. "I've spoken briefly to your husband and he asked that we all meet in your rooms as soon as you're available."

Hermione felt stricken. "To arrange the divorce?" She tried to sound passive, but the words just came out awkward and choppy.

"He didn't specify," Abigail said. "He simply asked if the three of us could discuss this together."

Hermione was only somewhat reassured. She nodded. "Okay, I can go now." With that, the pair set off through the school. The whole time, Hermione felt herself descend into an even greater state of turmoil with each passing moment. She desperately wished that she had spoken to Remus about this sooner. Then at least it would be embarrassing to have this woman around and not know whether they wanted a divorce or not. Unless Remus already knew that he wanted a divorce…

The most logical reasoning that came to Hermione's mind was simply the fact that since they were never supposed to be married in the first place, they shouldn't continue to me married now. Perhaps the relationship they'd developed wasn't enough for Remus to want her anymore. Perhaps it was simply insignificant to him. Hermione knew that he'd been in other relationships before she came along, probably many. He'd been her first serious relationship, the first person she'd slept with. Maybe she was simply over attached because she was a foolish young girl who'd never been properly kissed before he came along. Maybe it simply wasn't as big of a deal as she was making it out to be.

By the time Hermione and Abigail arrived outside of the entrance to her rooms, she felt like crying. Inside, Remus was standing over the teakettle, working on pouring it into three separate cups. If possible, the pain in Hermione's chest grew even worse at the sight of him. He looked stiff and uncomfortable, and when their eyes met he just looked remorseful.

"Hello, Ms. Bowen, Hermione," he greeted politely, motioning them over to the couch and levitating the tea. Hermione accepted her cup without meeting his eyes. The warmth of the tea didn't do much to soothe the lump in her throat. She felt the couch dip as he sat down beside her; close, but not touching. Abigail sat in the armchair beside the couch, placing her Ministry labeled folder on the coffee table and crossing her legs.

"Now that we're all here, I suppose we can begin," she spoke like a businesswoman, like she was here to do one job and one job only.

"Of course," Remus said, and Hermione detected a slight gruffness in his voice.

"I'm assuming that the two of you are looking for a divorce, am I correct?"

Hermione didn't want to speak, fearing what would happen if she opened her mouth. Remus shifted, running a hand through his hair uncomfortably.

"I'm sorry," the woman immediately backtracked, "I thought that— from the way things were described by the Prophet—" she stopped, and Hermione could feel the eyes on her.

Hermione picked up her head, glancing first at Abigail and then at Remus. Both looked awkward and unsure. She opened her mouth, taking a shaky breath and finding it hard to get any air into her lungs.

Suddenly, she had to get out of that room. Hermione stood from the couch, hastily trying to excuse herself. "Do you mind if I use the washroom? I've just been in the Hospital Wing all day—" she snapped her mouth shut, willing her expression into a calm, collected one.

The question was aimed at Abigail more than Remus, so she responded. "No, not at all."

Hermione retreated to the bathroom hastily, closing the door behind her and allowing a harsh sob to escape. She braced herself against the sink, tears beginning to drip down her cheeks. After looking at her blotchy face in the mirror, she realized that she had only bought herself a few minutes in the bathroom. The water running from the sink was a frigid cold, and she splashed it on her face before sinking to the ground and taking deep, shaky breaths.

She couldn't do this now. Having some sort of panic attack because of a childish attachment to Remus was mortifying and not how she wanted things to end. She pulled her knees up at rested her forehead against them, trying to regain her composure with great heaving breaths.

Hermione remembered what she'd done when she was younger to calm down. Her mother used to always have her count down from thirty in her head to control her temper. It had been especially useful in the days of primary school with all her accidental magic causing problems when she got angry. With this in mind, she closed her eyes and began to count down.

By the time she got to thirteen, a soft knock on the door interrupted her focus. After a brief pause, the door opened, Remus peeking through.

His already worried expression only worsened when he saw her siting on the floor. She surely looked like she'd been crying; it was always quite obvious with her blotchy complexion. He immediately closed the door and sank to the floor beside her. "What's wrong?"

She was sure that she'd already given herself away with the whole running away at the word 'Divorce', but Remus still looked confused. Did he think she wanted to get a divorce?

Hermione took a deep, shuddering breath, trying to find the words to explain. She was crying again, but not as harshly as before. Remus was watching her with a pained expression. Finally, she just shook her head, wiping her tears away as she did. "I don't want to not be married to you," she murmured very quietly, looking up to meet his eyes.

He let out a great breath and pulled her into a hug before she could say anything else. "I'm sorry." His breath ghosted across her forehead. "I thought that maybe you wanted to do this…. I thought that I ought to give you a way out if you wanted it. After you didn't say anything I assumed…"

She shook her head. "I just thought that you wanted a divorce… which is okay, of course, I'd understand."

"No," he said, pulling her closer. They both sat very closely to each other, sprawled out on the cold bathroom floor. "God, Hermione, I love being married to you. You've made everything about this year so much better. I've never fit better with anyone in my life."

These words made her heart ache and a new set of tears well up in her eyes. He lifted a hand to play idly with a tendril of her hair. When his eyes met hers, there was so much sincerity and truth within them. "Hermione, I love you, and if you'll have me, I'd be happy to stay your husband." He smiled fondly, "I could take you on dates and we could go live together somewhere faraway from this castle and we could pretend that none of this Marriage Law business ever happened."

His words made her want to scream in relief and happiness. It felt like an impossibly heavy weight had been lifted off her chest and now she was heaving in her first real breaths of air. Impulsively, she sat up and kissed him firmly on the lips before resting her forehead against his. "I love you too."

He cracked a youthful grin, tightening his arms around her waist and kissing her again. Hermione couldn't help her smile as she kissed him. In that moment, she could see herself, years down the road, with Remus at her side and a happy, peaceful life. However, her thoughts were interrupted when she realized that they were still in the bathroom, and that Abigail was still just outside in their sitting room with the divorce papers. She reminded Remus of this, pushing her hands against his chest to get him to stop kissing her for a moment.

He scowled childishly at the loss of contact. Finally, he grasped her hand and pulled them both up from the ground. "I think we should tell her to take her divorce papers and bugger off."

Hermione chuckled. "Okay, but we're not going to be rude. She's a nice woman, and it's a good effort from the Ministry."

Remus nodded, "Of course, of course. But let's get her out of here quickly. I'm just dying to get you alone, Mrs. Lupin." He let the last word hang for a moment, smirking in a way that made him look years younger. Hermione was eager to agree.

"How are things with Ginny?"

Harry tried to conceal his smile, but Hermione could still see it tugging at his lips. He stared off at the Black Lake, obviously remembering something fondly. "Good," he stated simply, "very good."

"I'm happy for you," Hermione replied, leaning back against the grass and gazing up at the sky. It was early in the morning, and soon they'd both have to go off to the Courtyard and help the others with the rebuilding. All the patients had been taken care of and Madam Pomfrey was no longer in need of help. Hogsmeade had also been repaired for the most part, so the only thing left to do was fix the school. That was today's activity.

Harry turned and gave her a sidelong glance. "What about you and Remus? The Ministry's been giving out a lot of divorces…"

This was the question that Hermione had been worried about when Harry asked her to take a walk down to the lake with him this morning. She sighed, watching as the Giant Squid scared a few birds away. "I love him," she murmured, playing with the ring that sat on her finger.

After a short pause, Harry nodded. "It makes a lot of sense, really."

"Oh?" She'd expected at least a little resistance or unease when she told Harry.

"Yeah," he smiled wistfully, "you've seemed a lot happier since things started going well with him."

"I am happier," she agreed. Silence stretched between them.

Just then, some voices from the school carried over to where they sat, echoing across the lake. Harry stood. "We should get back. Remus will wonder what I've done, running off with his wife."

Hermione chuckled, allowing Harry to help her up from the ground. He put an affectionate arm around her as they made their way back up the path towards the school. "Of course," he began with a more serious tone, "I will have to have a bit of a conversation with him. I can't play the part of your protective best friend without threatening all your romantic interests at least once."

"You'd better not scare him off," she shoved Harry's shoulder lightly.

He laughed, "I really doubt that I could scare him off, Hermione. He's obviously head over heels for you."

His words weren't meant to carry so much weight, but they made happy tears form in Hermione's eyes. Harry noticed and hugged her. She laughed ruefully, "How do you think Ron will take the news?"

Harry pursed his lips. "He might be a little upset at first, but he'll get over it. I think he's had to consider this possibility for a long time now, and while he did have feelings for you in the past, he's gotten over it with time."

Hermione exhaled, relieved that Harry said this. She needed to hear it. "Thank you for being so accepting, Harry. I really don't know what I would do without you." Once these words left her mouth, she was reminded of those few moments when she had actually believed that he was dead. She shivered.

Harry pulled her tightly to his side. "And I, you," he said simply.

The school was coming closer and closer. Soon enough, Hermione and Harry were entering the courtyard. Many of their friends who had stayed and helped were outside, beginning their work. Hermione spotted Remus first. He was standing with Professor McGonagall, Kingsley, most of the Weasley family (excluding Mrs. Weasley, Percy, and Bill), and a tall man whom Hermione didn't know. McGonagall seemed to be instructing them on how the reconstruction of the school was going. She gestured to fallen structures and bits of the castle as she spoke; everyone else listened intently.

Harry and Hermione approached the group just in time for McGonagall to finish speaking. Remus and Mr. Weasley noticed them first as they arrived. "Hermione, Harry, you're both just in time to help us," Mr. Weasley smiled. It was good to see him back to his old cheery self. George, Ginny, and Charlie all looked significantly better than they had been before, though the death of their brother was surely still close in their minds.

By now the whole group had turned to see Harry and Hermione arrive. Hermione watched the strange man who stood beside Remus, unable to recognize him.

Remus noticed the confused looks from both Hermione and Harry and began to introduce the man. "Harry, Hermione, this is Cain. He's the leader of the pack, the one who convinced the rest of them to aid us here." Remus said this with great appreciation and respect.

Hermione's eyes lit up in understanding. Cain stepped forward. He was tall and muscular, his various scars just adding on to his intimidating appearance. However, the smile on his face was a sharp contrast to this. He extended a hand to Harry, "Ah, Mr. Potter, it is a great pleasure to meet you." A thick German accent coated his words. "I can't tell you how thankful I am that this war is over, as is my pack. I believe we have you to thank for that."

Harry shook the man's hand, "It's not all my doing," he said modestly, "everyone who came here to help was a part of our victory. Thank-you for bringing your pack to help."

"It was worth it," he said confidently, now turning to look at Hermione. "Ah, Lupin, this is your mate, I believe?" A smirking glance was thrown over his shoulder at Remus.

Hermione blushed, not knowing quite what to say to this. She could see Harry trying to hide his smirk. Ginny coughed to conceal her laughter.

"My wife Hermione, yes," Remus sputtered out, offering Hermione an embarrassed look of sympathy over Cain's shoulder.

"It is a pleasure to meet you, Hermione," he extended a hand, shaking hers. "I have been wondering who this woman was that I've been smelling on Lupin."

She was blushing even more now, and could resist looking at the faces of the others around her. Harry, Ginny, and George were trying to hide their laughter. Mr. Weasley, Kingsley, and Charlie looked rather uncomfortable. Surprisingly enough, Professor McGonagall just looked smug.

Luckily, the group soon dissolved as McGonagall shooed them off to do the jobs they were assigned.

The day passed quickly due to all the work that needed to be done. Luckily, many people had stayed after the battle to help clean up. Most of the werewolf pack had agreed to stay and help, surprisingly enough. They all seemed like a nice group, nowhere near as hostile as Hermione made them in her mind. Even after losing many of their members to the battle, they all had positive attitudes and a desire to help out.

It was nearly time for dinner when the day's work was finished. There were still repairs to be made, but the school was looking significantly better than before. McGonagall had been announced as the new Headmaster to the school while Snape recovered, and she was therefore in charge of facilitating the repairs. By the time the sun began to set, she appeared to be very pleased with the progress made. If things continued the way they were going, the repairs would be done in another day or two.

Hermione and Remus ventured back to their rooms together before dinner. They had about an hour, just enough time to shower and change. As they made their way through the corridors, Remus asked her what she spoke about with Harry.

"We talked about you," Hermione replied cooly.

He gave her a worried look while he opened the door to their sitting room for her.

"It was nothing to worry about," she amended, smiling at his anxiety, "I just told him about how we'll be staying married. I think he may feel the need to threaten you sometime in the future…"

"Threaten me?" Remus stopped just past the doorway, eyebrows raised.

"Oh, you know, just the normal 'don't break her heart or I'll hurt you' thing. Nothing to worry about…" Hermione trailed off, making her way over to Remus' desk. "What's this?" she asked, staring down at the strange object that had appeared.

Remus' footsteps approached from behind her. He glanced over his shoulder at the mysterious necklace that sat on his desk. It was a golden chain with an ornate locket attached to the end. The necklace looked vaguely familiar to Hermione, though she couldn't place where it was from. Next to it sat a small folded up parchment. Remus reached for it, breaking the seal on the back and holding it so he and Hermione could read simultaneously.


I found this in the Headmaster's office earlier today. It was Albus' possession. Neither Severus nor I have any use for it, and I have reason to believe that Albus would have wanted you to have it. I hope you find it as interesting as he did.


Suddenly it clicked in Hermione's mind. She'd seen this locket when she was searching the Headmaster's office with Harry and Ron for the Resurrection stone. That's where she recognized it from. "What is it?" she asked.

Remus shrugged, lifting the pendant and eyeing it curiously. "It looks like a regular old locket, but I can feel the magic in it."

He handed it to Hermione so she could inspect it. She turned it over in her hands, opening it and peering at the hollowed out golden heart shape. "Should we floo Professor McGonagall?"

"I have a feeling that she may not tell us if we ask," he said, removing his wand from his robes, "but I think I'll be able to figure out it's basic use." Several complicated spells later, Remus was scratching his head in confusion, much to Hermione's amusement. "All I can figure out," he mumbled, opening and closing the locket once more, "is that it's triggered by words."

"We have to say something to it?" Hermione studied it intently. Remus nodded and she took it from him again, placing it on the table and examining it. She wracked her brain for information about voice activated magical objects.

All at once, as if staring at the necklace had willed the memory back to her, Hermione remembered reading a vague old book about seventeenth century magical artifacts. She gasped, seeing the striking resemblance of this to a drawing she'd seen in an old book in the back of the Hogwarts Library.

"What? What is it?" Remus seemed worried, as if this innocent little heart shaped locket was going to kill them or harvest their souls or something. Hermione scoffed at the idea of McGonagall delivering something like this to Remus. "Will you please tell me what it is?" Remus said indignantly.

"I think it's a Compatibility Pendant," she chuckled. "They're rumored to be very old and very silly. Nobody ever respected their creation, though I suppose it's quite an ingenious idea."

"And what, exactly, does it do?" He crossed his arms.

Hermione smiled, beginning to understand why McGongall and Dumbledore would have wanted Remus to see this. "When you say someone's name it's supposed to show you who they're most compatible with. It was originally intended to be used in the case of arranged marriages." She huffed at the irony.

It took a moment or two for all of this information to set in, but once it did Remus let out a breath of amused irritation. "Oh, Albus," he muttered, picking up the locket. "So what, shall I just say my name?"

She nodded, and Remus did just that. A few moments after the words had left his mouth, she saw the flicker of an image begin to form on one half of the locket. It was unmistakably Remus. On the other side, a familiar head of bushy hair appeared, along with the face to match it. Hermione had been expecting something along these lines, but the sight of her own face was still very surprising.

Neither said anything for a long time, until finally Remus broke the silence. "Well, he always was a bit meddlesome."

Hermione laughed, leaning against him, her head affectionately nestled against his shoulder. "Yes, but where would we be without all of this? If he hadn't chosen you to— to marry me… we wouldn't be here, would we?"

"I don't know," Remus grasped her hand in his free one, "I have a feeling that even if this hadn't happened, we still would have ended up here. A few years down the road, maybe, and with a little more trouble to get where we are, but I think we would have still found each other."

Hermione took a deep breath. His scent was mingled with the summer air drifting in through the window. "Nevertheless," she hummed contentedly, "I'm glad that all of this happened. It was worth it in the end, wasn't it?"

His hand tightened faintly around hers, fingers brushing against her wedding ring. "Yes," Remus sighed, "it was."

Author's Note: So there you are, a final chapter, only an epilogue to go. I hope you guys liked this chapter. I certainly enjoyed writing it. There were a lot of things here that I've been planning out in my head and just dying to write for a long time.

Anyways, the epilogue should be up soon. Watch out for that, my dears…